DORADE Wins Transpac

DORADE on a Close Reach

DORADE on a close reach in 1931. Designer Olin Stephens is at the helm. © Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection

HONOLULU, HAWAII – In a feat few would have predicted, the 1930 Sparkman & Stephens-designed 52-foot wooden yawl Dorade has earned overall victory in this 47th edition of the Transpac race, organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club and held biennially since 1906. Dorade was awarded the impressive King Kalakaua Trophy as First Corrected Overall Yacht.

According to a Transpac press release, Dorade started the 2225-mile race on Monday, July 8, at 1 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time and crossed the finished at Honolulu’s Diamond Head on Friday, July 20, at 3:23:18 Hawaii time, for an elapsed time of 12 days 5 hours 23 min 18 sec. Over the course, she turned in an average speed of 7.8 knots, 8.1 percent faster than her performance in 1936. She also hit a lifetime record speed of 15.9 knots.

This is the second time Dorade has won: the first was in 1936. In the 1930s Dorade amassed a racing record unmatched for her time, with victories in the Newport-Bermuda, Fastnet, and Transatlantic races, and it is unprecedented for a classic yacht of this era to also score so well in a mixed fleet of modern yachts.

“We thought if we could match Dorade‘s 1936 record of thirteen days that would be absolutely fantastic,” said owner Matt Brooks in the release. “We actually beat that record by more than a day. To do what we’ve done exceeded all our expectations.”

DORADE in 1932

DORADE in the 1932 Bermuda Race. © Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection

Brooks and his wife Pam Rorke Levy bought Dorade in 2010 and spent more than a year refitting it for ocean racing, with the goal of repeating the many races the boat won in the 1930s, a record of wins that stands unbeaten today. They entered the 83-year-old Dorade in the Transpac against the advice of many in the sailing community, who view the boat as an irreplaceable piece of maritime history. Sea trials and constant refinement of the boat’s systems have been ongoing over the past three years.

“Really there were eight of us on this — seven crew members and the eighth was Dorade — and she didn’t disappoint us,” said Brooks. “She performed flawlessly and did everything we asked her to do.”

Brooks sailed with Navigator Matt Wachowicz, Tactician Kevin Miller, Watch Captain Ben Galloway, Eric Chowanski on the Bow, Hannah Jenner on the helm, and John Hayes as sail trimmer.